Title: Minnie Played by: Maya Rudolph Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
While Minnie Riperton may not be as much of a household name as some of her contemporaries from the '70s, her story is a moving and important one. Hailing from Chicago's South Side, Minnie sang in multiple groups and was affiliated with the legendary Chess Records, providing backup vocals for icons such as Etta James, Muddy Waters, and Chuck Berry. She then became lead singer of Rotary Connection, a psychedelic soul/jazz fusion band, until she left the music industry to raise her two children in surburbia. Shortly after her return to music (catapulted by her biggest hit, "Loving You"), she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and told that she'd only have six months to live.
Instead of waiting for it all to end, Minnie took action and became one of the first celebrities to go public with their cancer diagnosis. She fearlessly became the spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, and in 1978 she was awarded for her bravery at the White House by President Jimmy Carter. Minnie's story is one that goes beyond music and fame. She was the anti-diva, a woman who chose family and benevolence over glitz and glamour. She lived with courage and grace and beauty, and deserves a film that depicts that faithfully.
The casting here is the most important part. Riperton's daughter, Maya Rudolph, is not only a talented actress and comedian but also a gifted vocalist. Not to mention that she's a spitting image of her mother. It would be a beautiful full circle for Maya to show the world how amazing a woman her mother was.